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The spectrum of immune-mediated and inflammatory lesions of the brainstem: Clues to diagnosis

Lai Yin Law, D Sean Riminton, MaiAnh Nguyen, Michael H Barnett, Stephen W Reddel, Todd A Hardy
Neurology 2019 August 27, 93 (9): 390-405
31451586
The presentation of a patient with brainstem symptoms and signs invokes a number of common and less common differential diagnoses, and accurate diagnosis can be challenging. We review the major immune-mediated and inflammatory syndromes that can affect the brainstem including multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, neuro-Behçet disease, chronic lymphocytic inflammation with pontine perivascular enhancement responsive to steroids, neurosarcoidosis, Susac syndrome, and the histiocytic disorders. We focus on clinical features and MRI clues that help to distinguish among the different brainstem conditions. Accurate diagnosis is important to guide appropriate treatment and limit neurologic disability.

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